St Innocent Momtazi Pinot Noir 2013
"Momtazi Vineyard is located in the McMinnville AVA, 7 miles west of McMinnville, Oregon. The grapes for this wine come from four blocks at the top of the vineyard on steep, exposed and windblown hillsides. Planted in 1999 and 2004 on thin, poor soils, the vines have a south and SW exposure at an elevation of 680-760'. The vineyard is certified biodynamic by Demeter.
The de-stemmed grapes were fermented in small stainless and Burgundy oak fermenters with no SO2 allowing the fermentations to proceed naturally. After gentle pressing and settling, the wine aged in French oak barrels, 28% of which were new, for 16 months before bottling by gravity without fining.
"The 2013 Momtazi's nose is very forward with blackcherries, black raspberries, pepper, corriander, and hints of cumin. It covers your palate with very round and dense berry flavors, lush sweet spices, hints of dried mushrooms and cedar. The tannins are very round and polished for such a young wine with the layered fruit and spice notes slowly fading into its long and sensual finish.
Serve with braised meats, stews, sausages, mushroom dishes, or cassoulet - essentially the umami foods. It can be enjoyed in its youth after decanting for two hours or more and will develop over a decade."
Wine notes by Mark Vlossak, Winemaker
More from Mark on Momtazi and Biodynamics:
"In 2006 I approached Moe Momtazi and asked if St. Innocent could contract for Pinot noir fruit from his bio-dynamically farmed vineyard. From my first trip to France in 1998, I observed that the greatest domaines in both Burgundy and Alsace had one thing in common, they farmed bio-dynamically.
"Bio-dynamics is an integrated system of farming that incorporates and encourages diversity in the entire ecosystem, from the roots and soil, through the macro-climate of the vine. A step beyond organic farming, this system was developed by Rudolph Steiner. The end result is a greater sense of the terroir of the site.
"Momtazi Vineyard is in the McMinnville appellation, located high above a warm valley. Within the northern Willamette Valley, this AVA is the one most strongly affected by coastal winds blowing through the Van Duzer corridor in the early evening. It is both a sunny, roasted hillside achieving full ripeness and a windblown ridge of thin soil that challenges the vines ability to survive. The wines produced reveal this dichotomy, being densely fruited and rustic at the same time. The wines produced from this AVA tend to be darker in fruit profile, richer in tannins, and more intense on the palate.
"This wine has a distinctly different density compared to other St. Innocent offerings and reflects its unique McMinnville terroir. The best analogy I can offer is to imagine having tasted all of Burgundy except for Nuits-Saint-Georges. Then you taste Nuits-Saint-Georges and respond that this is not Burgundy. But of course it is, in fact it is the geographic center of Burgundy, yet is somehow completely different. This is how Momtazi and the McMinnville AVA fits into the profile of Oregon's Willamette Valley.
"2013 was more stressful psychologically than the actual challenge posed by weather conditions. The primary reason for our success is that the grapes were almost completely ripe and clean when the weather conditions deteriorated. There were good tannins, balanced maturity and nice flavors. We just wanted a bit more ripeness before picking.
"We expected an early harvest, likely to occur in warm conditions, beginning in the final third of September. Unfortunately on 9/21, with only a few sites picked, it began raining. Normally in Oregon it rains for 2-4 days, then clears. In 2013 the clouds shut out the sun for 11 days and it rained for nine of them. After the rain stopped, we had beautiful sun and one of the driest Octobers on record. The key to success was to pick before, during and after the rain, based on the maturity and disease risk at each site and each block. In a nutshell, pick the ripest, cleanest fruit possible.
"The rain began as a drizzle allowing a few extra days of hang time to get the final maturity at some sites. In that period we picked the Chardonnay, parts of our estate and the younger vines at Temperance Hill. Shea, Freedom Hill, and more of our estate were picked just before the drenching that began at 11 am on Saturday, September 28th. Fortunately, the grapes from Momtazi and Justice were not yet ripe, thus not prone to disease and were harvested in perfect condition well after the rains stopped on October 1st."
Braised meats, roasts, mushroom or dishes with eastern spices match well with this solidly structured Pinot noir with its dark fruit, savory spices and exotic flavors. It will benefit from decanting 1-2 hours before serving and can be aged up to 12 y